Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Freedom ...

While driving back from Waco after officiating the Bicycles Outback Fallout mountain bike race this weekend, a deep feeling of freedom overcame me. This was my last scheduled race of the season, I was sitting in the little green Miata, and the peaceful world allowed me to pass through it. It was Monday morning, as I had stayed in Abilene for the night after not leaving Waco until 5:30 p.m. on Sunday after a long day that had started at the same time, but a.m. I could not help but feel satisfaction looking back at the race, working with good people, giving encouragement to an upcoming race official (Matt), resolving some issues, and knowing that for the most part we had all done a good job.
Renewable energy sources around the Snyder, TX, area
I also had to think of my upcoming trip to Germany, with my departure from Lubbock scheduled less than 30 hours later. (As it is, I am writing this entry from one of American's lounges in DFW). Looking at the windmills on the ridge from Abilene to Sweetwater, and later those around Roscoe and Snyder, I felt free and happy. Another season behind me, another great trip coming up, another Monday morning when I did not have to punch a clock like most regular folks my age have to. It's not that I feel thankful to any one particular person or—you know me better than that—some nebulous entity: I am responsible for my own good decisions, my frugality, and my having worked hard (as was my cohort Judy) that all have resulted in my retirement at age 54 and living a life that has the F-word all over it. Free to travel, free to pick jobs, free to drink a bottle of wine when I want, free to choose whatever I want to choose. It's a deeply satisfying state of mind.
Cotton modules traveling to the gin—a sure sign my season is coming to an end
Being able to do most of the things that I want (well, within reason) is not something that I take for granted. I know how fleeting good health and material wellness are. Life is fickle, and we're all just one inattentive driver, one mariposa moment away from alteration of direction or even cessation. Judy's death—but also our time together, which was so well-spent—crystallized for me even more that it is up to me to seize life and enjoy its freedoms, and I suppose that somehow Monday morning's drive back home brought all of this once again to the forefront.
Spin, baby, spin ...
When I came home from my last day of lectures at TTU, Judy had left me that beautiful, hand-written note, lying on the floor so that I couldn't miss it. It's framed now, of course, and it keeps reminding me of what I know and keep reminding myself of: I am "Free at last!"


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